Hawks Win But No High Fives With Strangers

Hawks Win But No High Fives With Strangers
You know you want it back. But the Stanley Cup is probably the only piece of silverware you shouldn't be banging on the street.

Saturday night I was a little disappointed. And why? I was in the best of situations.

I was holed up in a crowded bar with the TVs blaring a 3-3 tie game in double overtime. Surrounded by friends it couldn't have gotten any better for me and all the people I knew who gathered for a drink and the conclusion of the Blackhawks playoff run. As we know, it all ended in Patrick Kane's inevitable puck slap into the back of the LA Kings' net.

The bartender cut the background bar music, threw up the volume on the flat screen, and fans at Shambles cheered and tossed a little beer to the ceiling as " Chelsea Dagger" roared and the Blackhawks players gathered on ice to celebrate another trip to the Stanley Cup final.

Perhaps it was my fault for not hitting the street to go home until 3 in the morning. But I had missed what I thought would happen. That is, the sudden breakout of honking horns and random high fives of people in the street through the night from Bridgeport to Belmont Ave, from Ridgeland to Wrigleyville. Maybe I was at the wrong end of Division Street. Maybe it happened and I just missed it.

But in recent years Chicagoans have taken to the streets with a kitchen pot and wooden spoon for lesser occasions. I remember in 2003 --the season in which the Cubs came within five outs of the World Series-- that a first round win over the Atlanta Braves sparked a wave of high fiving all over the North Side. It was a regular old weeknight in the fall, and I was grabbing sushi with friends (as we Cubs fans allegedly always do). Without a sweep or a resounding action packed win, the Cubs closed out the Braves in rather nonchalant fashion, yet within minutes and before it even got dark fans came out to Clark Street, banging kitchenware and hand shaking strangers who were either cruising or serendipitously caught up in traffic. If I remember correctly, this wasn't the first time in the 2003 season for pot-banging, as Cubs fans had come out a few nights earlier after the Cubs simple win of Game 1.

Much the same thing happened in 2005, when the White Sox won the World Series, sweeping the Astros. Maybe northsiders really just hate the Astros, but a win for Chicago is a win, and people in the streets of Lakeview and the streets around The Friendly Confines felt all the more friendly with Cubs fans happy to bang pots and pans to ring in the win.


The 1906 White Sox World Series championship parade. Obviously we've improved our enthusiasm.

Winning it all for certain brings out our best handshakes and high fives. Bulls fans never tired of the celebrations in the streets even though six championships in eight years might have necessitated new cookware and wrist surgery from all the wear. And like with the Bulls' first title win in 1991, Blackhawks fans shut down Old Division Street for days just so fans could hang out and bump fists in the intersection.

It could be that we've grown accustomed to Chicago's teams winning and don't bother to act out anymore until they seal the deal. Or maybe it's easier to watch it later on YouTube or stream it on the nightly news.

Yet, I hope sincerely that the Blackhawks win it again this year. Not just for the win. But just because I want to put down my beer, step out into the street and give you a high five while banging a pot in your face. What a better way to warm up for a championship parade.

 

Andy Frye bangs pots and shouts from rooftops here, and via Twitter at @MySportsComplex

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